Urban Waters Partnership

South Platte Watershed from the Headwaters to the Denver Metropolitan Area (Colorado)

The South Platte Urban Waters Partnership is a collaboration of organizations, working across governmental and disciplinary boundaries. Their aim is to protect and restore lands and waters in the South Platte River watershed. The partnership emphasizes stewardship and community connection, linking urban areas with forested watersheds and people with nature.

This partnership involves more than 40 groups. Federal and state government, municipalities, NGOs and private businesses all come together for the benefit of the silent partner, the South Platte River. Local or federal action alone is less suitable to handle the complex challenges surrounding water, resource protection and connecting people with nature. This partnership's diversity is its strength and includes a role for each individual, community, business and agency.

This partnership is all about resource efficiency – leveraging human capital and financial resources to accomplish the most we can, in terms of river restoration, community education and improving watershed health.

The main goals are:

  • water conservation
  • reconnecting people to their waterways
  • improving water quality
  • using urban water systems as a way to promote economic revitalization, particularly in areas along the river that are economically distressed.

Water is such a scarce resource in our region, which makes our forested watersheds and waterways even more valuable. Collaborating with a group like this allows us to integrate solutions to complex problems. When people understand that their drinking water is tied directly to the health of the South Platte River, it means more to them.

The Greenway Foundation looked at $100 million invested in green improvements to the South Platte River and its tributaries. They estimated this investment has facilitated more than $10 billion in residential and commercial development throughout the Denver metro area. This estimate does not even include the additional dollar value of air and water quality and public health benefits from green infrastructure. That is a very good return on investment.

List of Partners

  • National Parks Service, Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program
  • Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

State Government

  • Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Colorado Department of Transportation

Local Government

  • Adams County
  • Jefferson Conservation District
  • Jefferson County
  • City of Lakewood
  • City and County of Denver
  • Denver Health
  • City of Englewood
  • City of Aurora
  • City of Centennial
  • City of Sheridan
  • City of Lakewood, Planning and Development Services
  • City of Thornton
  • City of Commerce City
  • Douglas County
  • City of Westminster
  • Littleton / Englewood Wastewater
  • Metro Wastewater Reclamation District
  • Urban Drainage and Flood Control District
  • Littleton/Englewood Water & Wastewater
  • Aurora Water
  • Denver Water
  • Tri County Health Department
  • South Metro Water Supply Authority


  • Trust for Public Land
  • Audubon Society of Greater Denver
  • Denver Botanic Gardens - Chatfield
  • Greenway Foundation, Capitol Representatives
  • Groundwork Denver
  • Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP)
  • National Forest Foundation
  • Colorado Watershed Assembly
  • The Park People
  • Chatfield Area Network for Outreach and Education
  • Earth Force
  • Research, Education & Development for Health, Recreation & Land Agencies (GP RED)
  • WalkDenver
  • South Platte Enhancement Board
  • South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (SP CURE)
  • Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership
  • Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority
  • Westerly Connection
  • Cherry Creek Stewardship Partners
  • Colorado Watershed Assembly
  • Clear Creek Watershed Foundation
  • Colorado Foundation for Water Education
  • Bluff Lake Nature Center
  • Barr Lake and Milton Reservoir Watershed Association
  • Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado
  • Institute for Environmental Solutions


  • Zeppelin Development


  • Colorado State University
  • Metro State University One World One Water Center
  • Colorado State Forest Service

Partnership in Action Report

Local Partnership Workplan